Real Estate

Converse and City of Boston Announce Lovejoy Wharf Redevelopment for Sneaker Company’s Headquarters

Lovejoy Wharf Project Site between the Charlestown and Zakim Bridges

Readers of have been keeping up with the Lovejoy Wharf mixed-use development where Converse, a subsidiary of Nike, will make their new headquarters. Today, the City of Boston held a press event to make it official and provide some additional details. The redevelopment will include a $15 million investment by the developer for public open space in and around Lovejoy Wharf. The City of Boston will be providing $9.9 million in tax breaks for the property at 160 North Washington Street, a historic 9-story “Hoffman” building that will be the sneaker company’s new headquarters. A 300-seat cafe-style restaurant and retail shops will also populate the ground floor. Adjacent to the Converse offices, a new 14-story residential building will replace 131 Beverly Street with 100 housing units. More details in the press release below.

“All Star” Company Picks Boston for World HQs

Converse to bring more than 400 jobs to the City as part of
$230 million redevelopment of Lovejoy Wharf

Today Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced that North Andover, MA shoe company, Converse, Inc, will relocate its expanded world headquarters to Boston. Converse will lease approximately 187,000 square feet of new office space that will be created as part of the $230 million redevelopment of Lovejoy Wharf in Bulfinch Triangle. The new location will house more than 400 Converse employees when it opens in April 2015.

“They say that wearing Converse makes a statement about a person. Well I want to say that Converse moving its world headquarters to Boston makes a statement about our city,” Mayor Menino said. “Converse and Boston are a perfect marriage. Two venerable and classic brands that are also constantly evolving. The move to Lovejoy Wharf will revitalize this historic northern gateway, while giving Converse access to a young, talented and creative workforce.”

“Converse was founded a few miles outside of Boston more than 100 years ago and we are honored to be part of Boston’s next chapter and great metropolitan center. This city is part of our DNA and its spirit central to our continued growth and success,” said Jim Calhoun, President and CEO of Converse. “We are thrilled to find our new home in the vibrant metropolitan center of Boston and look forward to growing with the city in the years to come.”

Lovejoy Wharf, located on the Boston Harbor between the Zakim Bridge and the Charlestown Bridge, currently houses two dilapidated buildings and a neglected pier. In December 2012 the Boston Redevelopment Authority Board approved plans by the Beal Companies and The Related Companies to revitalize the site with new office and residential development.

Converse will be leasing office space at 160 North Washington Street, a 9-story building that will be rehabbed and will also include 45,000 square feet of ground floor retail with a 300-seat café-style restaurant. The adjacent dilapidated structure at 131 Beverly Street will be removed and replaced with a 14-story residential building with 100 housing units that will be connected by a 10-story link to 160 North Washington Street.

The developers are investing $15M in public infrastructure that will create a signature public open space in and around Lovejoy Wharf. The wharf improvements include a beautiful new Harborwalk that creates access to the Charles River Basin, three-quarters of an acre of new publically accessible open waterfront space, floating docks, and public water transportation facilities. The extensive public amenities and investment being made in the site will be assisted by a partnership with the City of Boston. A Chapter 121B tax agreement at 160 North Washington Street will provide $9.9 million in property tax relief over 25 years, while bringing approximately $63.3 million in new revenue to the city during the same period. Comparatively, in fiscal 2013, the property will generate $388,000 for the City of Boston in property taxes.

About Converse

Converse Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of NIKE, Inc. Established in 1908, the Converse brand has built a reputation as “America’s Original Sports Company”™ and has been associated with a rich heritage of legendary shoes such as the Chuck Taylor® All Star® shoe, the Jack Purcell® shoe and the One Star® shoe. Today, Converse offers a diverse portfolio including men’s, women’s and children’s footwear, apparel and accessories. Converse product is sold globally by retailers in over 160 countries and through 74 company-owned retail locations in the U.S.